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Walking a fertility journey is one like no other. No matter who you are or what walk of life you are from, hearing a doctor tell you that your chances of falling pregnant are very slim, completely takes your breath away. We spend so many years trying not to fall pregnant accidentally, that we automatically think it will happen straight away when we want it to.
My husband I got married in 2014 and started trying for a baby straight away. We knew it probably wouldn’t happen straight away, but when it still hadn’t happened several months later. We decided to run some tests. After a lot of wasted time and money on substandard doctors, we ended up at Vitalab in the hands of some of the most wonderful miracle workers around. After a few routine procedures and check-ups, I was told that I had Endometriosis and was entering premature menopause with very few, poor quality eggs – say what!? Me, the person who still gets asked for ID, having 500-year-old ovaries!?
After a few preliminary procedures were unsuccessful we arrived the decision to proceed with IVF. Being an A-type personality, I dived right in. Read up and researched and tried every possible thing I could to maximise our chances - yoga, acupuncture, herbal tea, no caffeine, meditation. After I got the phone call from Vitalab that our treatment had failed and that I was not pregnant, I honestly thought I was going to die. I felt robbed, defeated, angry and incredibly heartbroken. To go through ALL OF THAT and still come up empty handed is pain like no other. It’s hard not to constantly question how the world works and become a bitter and miserable person whilst struggling to conceive.
After hitting rock bottom and spending many months dealing with our “loss” we eventually decided to scrape together whatever money we could and give IVF a second try. After NEVER being much of a runner (except towards a good boozy lunch), I suddenly woke up determined to go for a run. And so I did. Run Forrest, Run!!
I trained as hard as I could. Running was a great stress reliever. I would run out my frustration or simply just cry and picture myself running to fetch my baby, waiting for me somewhere... As I crossed the finish line of the Spar Women’s 10km Challenge, I cried. I cried because I proved to myself that I could do anything I put my mind to. I cried because I had finally reached my goal and the end of my IVF medication cycle. I also cried because my ovaries were the size of watermelons and were about to burst after being pushed to the limit and growing 10 perfect, healthy eggs. Preparing for our Frozen Embryo Transfer, my husband I were at peace. We were ready for whatever lay ahead. If our cycle was successful, I was ready to spend the Claren’s Beer Fest completely sober. If not, we were ready to give up on house hunting for the perfect family home and buy a trendy apartment and travel the world. My heart stopped beating for the second time, when Vitalab phoned me telling me that my pregnancy test was positive!
We are often put on our specific journeys to learn. To learn so much about ourselves and the world around us. To learn to appreciate the blessings and the incredible people we have in our lives and meet along the way. I met one of my most special friends sitting in the Vitalab pre-op waiting room. After seeing each other at our worst, we now have moms-night-off dinners where we compare toddler stories and drink copious amounts of wine and have sweet play dates where we discuss potty training strategies and watch in awe as our miracles laugh and play together.
Life has a funny way of surprising us. Nine months after giving birth, I found out I was pregnant… NATURALLY! I now have two gorgeous, busy boys, a house laden with toy cars and rocks out the garden and the fullest, happiest heart I could ever imagine.
Don’t give up.
Looking back on our journey. It was all worth it. Every cent that was spent. Every tear that was cried. Every pill that was swallowed and every injection that I administered. And, I would do it all over again. And again and again and again.
Right from the very beginning we decided to open and honest about our fertility journey. We needed the support of our family and friends. We also didn’t want it to be a taboo topic that no one could talk about. I also hoped that one day my story would encourage and inspire those around me who needed to embrace a fertility journey themselves. That being said, not everyone is happy to share their journey. Sometimes it is too hard to talk about and as friend or family member of someone struggling to conceive, you need to respect that. I would not have managed my fertility journey without joining an incredible Fertility Support Group. It was wonderful to talk to other women riding the fertility rollercoaster who could offer advice and who actually did know exactly how I felt. I was lucky enough to form the most special friendships in the very darkest days.
If you’re still waiting for your blessing:
Keep thinking positively. Your mind is the most powerful tool you have.
Phone Vitalab and find a good fertility specialist who you connect with and who you can trust.
Develop a standard response for when people ask you when you’re going to have a baby or why you don’t have one yet. That way you can respond automatically, and it doesn’t take your breath away each time someone asks you.
Develop a support network who you can turn to when you need to vent, drink wine (or booze free beers) with or who can help you inject yourself when your eyes are too puffy to see from continuous crying.
Pick up a hobby or pass time for YOU that is completely unrelated to fertility and can take your mind off baby making – even if it is for 30 min once a week. Suggestions: Running, art classes, yoga, adult dance classes, once a week dinner with the girls.
Acknowledge and thank all the wonderful people who love and support you along the way. The journey is hard for them too.
If you know of someone who is trying to conceive:
Don’t ever say: “Just relax, and it will happen”.
Don’t fish for details or information. Be supportive and people will share the information they’re comfortable with.
Don’t pass judgement when people who are trying to conceive don’t want to attend kiddies birthday parties or baby showers.
Always offer wine 😊
Those who are looking for a Fertility Support Group can join Footprints in the Sand on Facebook.